A debt-free summer: Holiday fun that won’t break the bank

With Christmas and New Year behind us, there are still many days of summer ahead of us. That also means the lament of “I’m bored!” can be heard in houses all over the country. Fortunately, in Australia, we’re blessed with a plethora of free and affordable entertainment options to choose from, and we’ve gathered some of our favourite ideas to help you enjoy adventures with your loved ones.

Pack a breakfast picnic and head to the beach

Pack a picnic and head to the beach before it gets busy. Have a refreshing swim then relax while you enjoy some fresh fruit, yoghurt and pastries. If you’re feeling energetic, you could even find somewhere with barbeques and cook up some fresh bacon and egg rolls. Don’t forget your sunscreen, hat and sunglasses!

Enjoy a night at the movies in the comfort of your own home

Create a magical movie night for all the family to enjoy. Prepare some cheap and healthy snacks – popcorn, fruit, veggie sticks and dip, home-made pizza and ice-cream cones with sprinkles and toppings. Then grab some pillows, bean bags or even air mattresses to turn the living room into your very own cosy cinema. Enjoy a funny movie (or two!) on your favourite streaming service or one of the free-to-air channels.

Get moving in the great outdoors

Whether you live in the city or the bush, chances are you’re not too far from a walking track with stunning nature views. Whether it’s a coastal trail, a bushwalk, or a visit to a national park, spending time outdoors also promotes positive physical and mental wellbeing. Choose a walk to match your energy and experience levels, and don’t forget to take plenty of water and sun protection. If you’re venturing into an isolated area, make sure you tell someone where you’re going.

Expand your mind with a trip to a museum or gallery

Many museums and galleries around Australia offer free entry. Become a tourist in your own city or town and discover the hidden gems where you live. Whether you’re interested in visual arts and crafts, Indigenous culture, science and technology, history or even politics, there’s something for everyone at our wonderful cultural institutions.

Visit festivals and events in your neighbourhood

Check out the websites of local councils near you for their holiday programs. Options include music, culture, food, sport, books and more, and events are often free or low-cost. It’s a great chance to get to know your neighbourhood and create fun memories in your own backyard.

Have a family board game day

Although it remains a much-loved classic, the world of board gaming has come a long way since Monopoly. Pull out some family favourites or check your local second-hand store for some fun new finds. You could even prepare some lunch and other snacks in advance so that you don’t have to stop for too long when hunger strikes!

Take a train adventure

In many parts of Australia, public transport is inexpensive to use on the weekends. Jump on a train, bus, ferry or light rail service to somewhere you wouldn’t normally go. Enjoy the views and not having to worry about parking! Once you arrive, go for a relaxed walk and discover your surroundings. You could even head to a local supermarket for some snacks before you take a ride back home.

Get some vitamin D

Don’t underestimate the simple joy of some time in the sunshine. Let the sun’s warmth soothe the soul and nurture the body, but remember to slip, slop, slap and wrap for appropriate sun protection.

It can be hard to keep the family entertained during the long days of summer, but with a spirit of adventure and a little creativity, you can create some wonderful memories without spending a fortune. As they say, the best things in life are free!

By Rachel Ryan

Rachel is a policy and communications specialist with over a decade of experience working in government, education and not-for-profit organisations. She is grateful for the opportunity to work alongside Way Forward’s clients to assist them in sharing their story on their terms, in a way that is empowering and uplifting.

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